This article first appeared in The Sunday Times on July 14, 2013
As a policeman, Iskandar Rahmat was once commended for providing good customer service.
But in the months leading up to the double murder in Kovan, the senior staff sergeant from Bedok Police Division was neck-deep in debt.
Checks showed that he was declared a bankrupt on Thursday – just a day after he allegedly killed Mr Tan Boon Sin, 67, and his son Mr Tan Chee Heong, 42.
Documents also revealed that he owed more than $62,000 to OCBC Bank, and that his financial troubles started as early as June last year.
Police confirmed he had failed to declare his personal debt, and as a result, faced disciplinary proceedings. Proceedings started in January.
Director of the Criminal Investigation Department Hoong Wee Teck said yesterday that Iskandar did not declare his financial “embarrassment” to the force, when he was required to do so.
Mr Hoong, who is also the Deputy Commissioner (Investigations and Intelligence), added that Iskandar’s financial woes arose from “personal domestic matters” and that as far as they knew, was not a result of gambling.
Iskandar joined the force in March 1999 and rose through the ranks.
As a police corporal in 2002, he helped to arrest a man at Bedok Interchange for selling pornographic discs.
In 2010, the then-staff sergeant testified in court about his encounter with a glue-sniffer who later died because of the substance abuse.
An undated article on the Singapore Police Force website said that a Bedok resident had commended him for his good work in attending to complaints.
Not much is known about his personal life.
According to his Facebook page, which was later deleted, he had a liking for Vespa scooters – like the one he used to escape to Malaysia.
Records showed that he was married in 2003, and that he lived in a three-room HDB flat in Kim Keat Avenue.
Neighbours said he shared the apartment with two elderly folk and a woman – believed to be his wife – and that the family kept to themselves after moving in about three years ago.
They did not know he was a police officer as he was always seen in plainclothes.
Iskandar also never spoke to them, said the neighbours.
The family locked themselves in yesterday after news broke that Iskandar had been arrested.
Police officers came knocking in the afternoon, and were allowed in only after 20 minutes, and after they had identified themselves with passes.
When Iskandar was brought to the Police Cantonment Complex around noon yesterday, he had a deep and long cut between his right thumb and forefinger and the stitches were visible.
He was later taken to the murder scene at 14J Hillside Drive, where he appeared calm during the crime scene re-enactment.
Neighbours said that they saw six to seven officers in the house, and that Iskandar, whose wrists and ankles were shackled, was inside for about 15 minutes.
A 30-year employee of the elder Mr Tan, who owned car workshop Soc Leon Motor Works in Kaki Bukit, said yesterday that he had never seen Iskandar in the area.
The 55-year-old, who wanted to be known as Ah Siong, said he had not been able to sleep since his boss, whom he described as caring, was killed.
He said: “I’m happy he was arrested. Now I can sleep in peace.”
Additional reporting by Pearl Lee